Payback order for man who stalked his ex-partner with fake Facebook page

Connor Duncan.

A Fife “stalker” who bombarded his ex-partner with calls and set up a Facebook account in her name has been given a community payback order.

Connor Duncan, 20, of Barrie Path, Glenrothes, was also ordered to pay compensation of £250 to the woman.

He admitted that between September 15 and November 27 at addresses in Broughty Ferry, Glenrothes and elsewhere he engaged in a course of conduct that caused Joanne McVey fear and alarm by repeatedly contacting or attempting to contact her by telephone and repeatedly attempting to pass on messages via her friends, set up social media accounts in her name and published statements purporting to be from her.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard Duncan had been in a relationship with Miss McVey for around a year until it ended in September.

Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson said: “After the relationship terminated Miss McVey received regular calls from the accused on her telephone.

“However, she repeatedly told him she did not want to speak to him.”

Duncan would try to contact members of Miss McVey’s family and her friends, asking them to pass messages to her.

On November 27 three of her friends received a friend request on Facebook from somebody purporting to be Miss McVey.

Posts on that site included: “I need to stop texting boys that have a girlfriend or this wouldn’t happen to me.”

The friends came to the conclusion that Duncan had set up the account. Miss McVey got Facebook to suspend the page and called the police.

Sentence had been deferred until Wednesday and solicitor Kris Gilmartin told the court Duncan was a first offender and there had been “no hint” of any further incidents since he had been arrested and detained in custody.

He said his period on remand had been a “harrowing experience” and had already been an important punishment for Duncan.

“He is very keen to put this behind him, he took the break-up of his relationship very badly indeed. However in the cold light of day he realises it is over.”

Sheriff Richard McFarlane said: “This case has troubled me, you are a first time offender and the report says what I presumed already, that you are a decent young lad with a strong work ethic, good family and continued support from your mother.

“But it’s the detail of the offence you pled guilty to that worries me.”

The sheriff pointed out that the offences took place over a three-month period and said it was a “very intense use of telecommunications. I can’t get away from the fact it was a stalking experience.”

He added: “When you start using Facebook or social media sites it’s clearly pre-meditated what you are posting.

“There’s an opportunity for you to think twice and it appears that you have used Facebook to try to get to your girlfriend and, having failed directly, you were then posting to her friends and family.

“The level of trying to contact her was forever increasing, and you over-reacted in a wholly inappropriate way. The period of time worries me.”

Duncan was given a community payback order to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work in six months and ordered to pay £250 compensation.